Study data confirms that supplements slow the progression of AMD

AREDS2 does not contain beta-carotene, which reduces the risk of lung cancer.

New research data from the National Eye Institute (NEI) confirms that nutritional supplements can reduce the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In a report on a study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently published in Gamma OphthalmologyIn this study, researchers examined the equivalent of 10 years of data from studies of age-related eye diseases (AREDS and AREDS2).1,2

They discovered that the AREDS2 formula — which replaced the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin for beta-carotene — not only reduced the risk of lung cancer than beta-carotene but was also more effective at reducing the risk of developing AMD, compared to the original formula, a press release from the National Institutes of Health says.3

Taking beta-carotene increased the risk of lung cancer for current smokers in two NIH-supported studies, the goal with AREDS2 was to create an effective supplement combination, said Emily Chiu, MD, director of the Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Application at the National Institute of Medicine, as well as lead author of the study report. Equally can be used by both smokers and non-smokers.

“Ten years of data confirm that the new formula is not only safer, but is actually better at slowing AMD’s progress,” Chiu stated in the release.

The original AREDS study – launched in 1996 – found that a combination of supplements (500 mg of vitamin C, 400 IU of vitamin E, 2 mg of copper, 80 mg of zinc, and 15 mg of beta-carotene) According to the statement, the progression of AMD from a moderate to late disease. Despite this, two parallel studies found that the risk of lung cancer in individuals who consumed and smoked beta-carotene was much higher than expected.

The AREDS2 trial (NCT00345176) was launched in 2006 as a 5-year study comparing beta-carotene combinations with 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin.

Similar to beta-carotene, this antioxidant has activity in the retina of the eye. The beta-carotene formulation was only given to patients who had never smoked or had quit.

At the end of the study, it was determined that antioxidants do not increase the risk of lung cancer. Furthermore, the researchers concluded that a beta-carotene combination can reduce the risk of developing AMD by about 26%.

Upon completion of the study, participants were shown the final composition of the study that included lutein and zeaxanthin (instead of beta-carotene).

The new report includes findings from the investigators’ follow-up with 3,883 of the 4,203 original participants from the AREDS2 study in 2011, 5 years after its conclusion. They noted whether the participants’ AMD had progressed to late disease as well as if they had a lung cancer diagnosis, according to the statement. Despite the fact that all patients switched to the antioxidant-containing formula after the end of the AREDS study, results from the follow-up study continued to reveal that beta-carotene increases the risk of lung cancer for individuals who did not smoke by nearly twice as much. . For those patients who received the lutein/zeaxanthin combination, there was no increased risk of lung cancer.

Furthermore, the investigators reported that after 10 years, the participating group originally assigned to receive lutein/zeaxanthin had a 20% additional risk of progressing to late-onset AMD compared with those originally assigned to receive beta-carotene.

“These results confirmed that switching our formula from beta-carotene to lutein and zeaxanthin was the right choice,” Chiu said.

the reviewer
1. Age-Related Eye Disease Research Group. The Age Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS): design implications. AREDS report no. 1. Clinical control trials. 1999; 20 (6): 573-600. doi: 10.1016/s0197-2456 (99) 00031-8
2. AREDS2 Research Group, Chew EY, Clemons T, et al. ophthalmology. 2012; 119 (11): 2282-2289. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2012.05.027
3. An NIH study confirms the benefit of supplementation in slowing age-related macular degeneration. National Eye Institute. June 2, 2022. August 1, 2022.